The bottom of doors, door frames and base boards all lie at a convenient height for your rabbit as it roam your home. Rabbits are tenacious chewers and have razor sharp teeth that can easily cut through soft wooden materials and as they go around testing their environment which can leave them looking tatty or even lead to some serious damage requiring expensive repairs.
If you use a closed door to stop your rabbit having access to off limits areas of your home this can also draw attention as your rabbit test it’s boundarys, especially if you can be heard on the other side.
It’s very hard to stop this naughty behaviour and no matter how many times to say NO it can only take a moment for more damage to be done when your back is turned. You can however take some steps to prevent it by using some of the simple tried and tested bunny proofing techniques. In this article we have collected lots of great ideas from bunny owners including ways to protect wood by using ceramic tiles to cover and area until you can refocus attention on a more suitable alternative. We have also covered the benefits of using a pet gate to control access to rooms in your home safely as well as training and appropriate discipline.
A ceramic tiles or cardboard box can be used to protect a door frame from chewing
Problems to doors and frames can pop up anywhere and quickly form a habit. It’s best to stop this as soon as you can and a simple way to provide some temporary protection is to lay a ceramic tiles up against the areas when you rabbit is showing interest in. These can also be easily packed away when not needed.
Alternative a cardboard box can be used to block access to an area of a wall till attention can be focused elsewhere. Again a spare tile can be useful if placed in the bottom of the box to stop it being moved around.
The carpet around doors or baseboards can also need protection
Another area where damage can occur is to your carpet or floor surfaces adjacent to doors and baseboards. Rabbits like to test their bounarys and are more then capable of tugging up carpet if the decide to try and dig under an obstacle. There are lots of ways you can help stop this and we feature them in a separate article on this subject.
Pet gates make door access easy
Pet gates are a great way of restricting access to a room without leaving your house rabbit feeling shut out. They can also take the brunt of the damage and are a lot cheaper to replace then the door itself. If it is a room you enter frequently they can also be a useful safety feature preventing instances of you unknowingly opening a door onto your house rabbit which can cause harm.
Attention seeking can be controlled by providing an alternative such as a bell or rattle
Your house rabbit may be chewing and scratching at a door as a way to get your attention. It’s best to stop this before it becomes a habit by providing some acceptable alternatives. Toys with bells on them or rattle can be placed next to the door and this can draw attention away from the door itself and prevent ghetto damage.
Kick plates can be fitted to stop chewing along the bottom of a door
Damage can be caused by you house rabbit stripping off the soft wood laminate from the bottom edge of the door. This can be prevented and covered up by installing a “Kick plate”. Although you will have to install these permanently which will require some DIY this will prove a permanent solution and look better then a badly damaged door and is in the long run a lot easier then having to eventually replace the door completely.
Plastic corner protectors can protect soft wooden edges
The soft wooden edges of your door frames can easily become rounded off by unwanted chewing behaviour. An easy way to stop this by using some short lengths of L shaped plastic corner protectors. They can be found in your local DIY store and can easily be attached with some sticky pads.
Provide some acceptable chewing alternatives
The door and its frame may become a target of gnawing behaviour as house rabbits tend to seek out and chew on soft materials such as wood to help wear down their teeth and provide digestive fibber. To help prevent this its important to provide some safe and acceptable alternatives that can act as a tasty distraction such as willow sticks, wicker toys, and card board boxes. Remember to replace these frequently as they will loose there novelty and appeal.
The best way to use bitter spray to stop chewing
Bitter sprays can help make the corners of doors and baseboards lot less appealing to chew. You can apply the spray directly to the affected area or to help stop the spray going everywhere you can also spray some into a cloth then wipe the liquid on. Remember to keep reapplying the bitter spray regularly so it doesn’t loose its effectiveness. Avoid home made remedies such that may be suggested to you such as perfume or chilly oil as these can be harmful to your rabbit and instead use a product designed for rabbits like the Grannick Bitter Apple Spray For Small-AnimalsGrannick Bitter Apple Spray for small animals and never use the spray on your rabbit as a punishment. Lastly don’t expect this to stop the problem in itself as you may find your rabbit more then prepared to put up with the taste. As always its a combination of things that will prove most effective.
How to train and discipline your rabbit to stop chewing doors and frame
The first thing to understand is you should never shout at or hit your rabbit. It could cause harm and is likely to make them timid or even aggressive towards you. Discipline is a hard thing to judge but there are a few deterrents that are gentile enough to be safe and still have the desired effect. A commonly used deterrent is to keep a water mister to hand and when you catch your bunny in the act of chewing or scratching at a door base board spray some mist over them. Another idea is to keep a jar filled with some coins and use this as a rattle to strongly indicate the behaviour is not tolerated. As always these work best alongside lots of activity and chew toys that you bunny will learn are acceptable.
Rabbit are born to chew
Rabbits like to chew on soft wood to sharpen their teeth, which constantly grow so never ware out. They may even be looking for dietary fibre. Given time rabbits can chew their way through just about anything.
- Place a cardboard box in front of areas of baseboard being chewed or even better make your rabbit a digging boxHow to make a digging box
- Keep a spare ceramic tile handy that can be rested up against door frames or base boards to protect them
- Re-enforce soft wooden corners with strips of plastic L shaped corner guards from DIY stores
- Avoid trapping toes under a door your rabbit is behind by installing a pet or baby gate
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny Proofing group!
We are a community of house rabbit enthusiasts with a specific interest in sharing our experiences of living with these special pets. We like posting tips on enriching our rabbits environments, preventing damage to our homes and making them safe for our rabbits to inhabit.